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Where's best for a pink honeymoon?
    En Castellano

Destinations are clambering to assert their pink-friendly status in a bid to capture an expected boom in gay honeymoons,...

By Ginny McGrath.

gay couple

The legalisation across the UK of civil partnerships, a legally recognised union between two people of the same sex, is seen as a potential goldmine among tour operators and hotels, keen to cash-in on gay honeymoons.

Around 1,000 gay couples registered for civil partnerships in the UK (Only in 2008) when the status legal . There are an estimated three million gay and lesbian Britons, and as many as 274,000 gay couples are expected to "marry" in the first few months of legalisation of civil partnerships.


But according to established tour operator, Sunvil Holidays, which launched a dedicated gay honeymoon website,, 18 months ago, gay honeymooners favour the same post nuptial destinations as heterosexual couples.

Operations manager Chris Wright said: "Gay couples looking to register their partnership are really no different from heterosexual couples in their choice of destinations. Latin America is the hottest destination at the moment but there is general interest in all of our products including Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, the Azores, Africa and the Caribbean, depending on the budget and age of the couple."

He added that in many cases gay couples avoid specifically gay resorts. Speaking to Times Online, Sunvil's managing director, Noel Josephides said: "I think people forget that many of these gay couples are middle-aged normal people, not raging queens dressed in drag."

Despite this, gay couples are not welcome in some destinations. Joel Cabrera is co-founder of Chicago-based Zoom Vacations (, specialising in gay travel. He says: "Gay couples have specific needs on their honeymoons, but above all, is the need to feel comfortable and safe."

According to Josephides no-go destinations for gay couples include Dubai, Jamaica, Maldives, Namibia, much of the Middle East and the "Bible Belt" of America.

  He advises that gay couples check the Foreign Office website for further information on destinations, but adds, "there is no problem with travelling to these locations as long as the couples avoid any visible signs of affection, which is common sense really."

just marriedBut some gay specialist tour operators won't sell these destinations. Rob Harkavy is co-founder and director of specialist gay tour operator, Respect Holidays ( He told Times Online: "We won't, as a matter of principle, run holidays to a country where it is illegal to be gay or where the country has a history of oppression of gay people. It's a duty of care issue but also a moral one."

But Cabrera says more destinations are opening up to gay travellers. He says that many destinations and operators that weren't gay- friendly 10 years ago, have now opened their doors to gays.

For example, Sandals, the Caribbean resort company for couples, was famously banned by London mayor Ken Livingstone from advertising on the London Underground because of an anti-gay policy, but has now removed that stipulation from its booking conditions.

Respect Holidays' top ten sellers:

Buenos Aires - Sydney - Rio de Janeiro - San Francisco - Mykonos (Greece) - Indian Ocean - Amsterdam - Montreal
New York - Gran Canaria - Benidorm - Cape Town

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